St Ives Town U18 3 March Town United U18 1
Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 04/09/17
A remarkably calm and balmy evening greeted the Ives on their seasonal home debut at their out ground of Jubilee Park. Amazingly people dressed for summer were not shivering before the game started, or even when it ended!.
In fact people watching was almost as entertaining as the football for the early periods of this game as both sides tried to play at break neck pace on a green, but bumpy surface. The Ives were enjoying the majority of possession, but lacking the necessary composure to create even a half chance. The Hares seemed to have a single tactic in these early stages which was to launch the ball long for their very willing lone striker Jordan Palmby. Unfortunately for Palmby he either ventured offside, failed to get the ball as it was effectively cut out by the solid centre back pairing of Jordan Locke and Jamie Short, or chased lost causes as the ball ran on to the ever alert Tom Smith in the home goal.
The first action worthy of note came in 18th minute as the all action Patrik Polhos won yet another challenge and fed the ball into the feet of Tiago Dias who showed the first bit of real composure as he steadied himself and fed a perfectly weighted pass into the run of Vitor Vaz cutting from the right. Vaz took the ball in his stride and hit it first time from the edge of the box. But the effort was always rising and flew well over the top.
The opening goal arrived in 27th minute and although finished well it was created in similar fashion to most of the preceding play. Polhos delivered a long free kick into the Hares box from inside the centre circle. The March defence were always favourites to clear the ball, but made a complete hash of it and the ball fell to the one man they did not want to give it to inside their box. Dias again showed that all important composure as he steered the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net past the unsighted visitor’s keeper Will Curtis.
The Hares reacted well to this set back and won their first corner of the game on the half hour. Kieran Neville delivered an inviting ball to the edge of the six yard box where Sol Goodby somehow managed to find space for a free header. But he made a poor contact on the ball allowing Dawid Kwiatowski to scramble it away at the back post. The visitors continued to press and Smith had to be very smartly off his line to deny Palmby seven minutes later.
As the ball was cleared there followed one of those incidents all of us football lovers dread to see on the field as the Hares skipper Charlie Revell collapsed in the centre circle with no one near him. The referee was quick to summon on medical assistance and a worrying wait followed as the visitor’s medical team assisted by Ives Club Secretary and senior nurse Marina Howlett attended to the stricken player on the pitch. Fortunately he was coherent throughout the incident and although clearly in distress was safely moved to the medical room for further monitoring and an ambulance to be summoned.
The game resumed after an eight minute stoppage and continued in a somewhat subdued state with neither side really creating much more before the break.
The previous week’s hat trick hero Kyrie Foster had been only a peripheral figure in the first period of this game and manager Jack Cassidy made his first change at the break replacing him with Cobi Thomas. The Hares also made a couple of changes at the break the most significant being the introduction of first leading scorer Toby Allen.
Ives had a golden opportunity to double their advantage ten minutes after the break as the hard working Martin Saunders put Billy Mobbs clear. Rather than slot the ball past him Mobbs tried to go round the advancing keeper giving covering defender Jacob Hauls chance to get to him and knock the ball away.
Allen showed the first glimpse of his ability only sixty seconds later as he picked up a pass from Brandon Pearce fully 35 yards from goal. The big striker turned onto his right foot and unleashed a pile driver with almost no back lift that caught Smith off guard and beat him all ends up. The startled custodian was pleased to see the ball crash into the crossbar and bounce to safety.
The pace of the game had dropped off, but the quality had lifted and both sides were now creating opportunities to add to the score line. Centre back Locke came up for an Ives corner on the hour. He rose highest to get on the end of Saunders flag kick at the back post, but failed to hit the target with his header.
Allen was always the Hares danger man and he grabbed an equaliser in spectacular fashion two minutes later. Kyle Liddy was given space in the middle of the park and he fed the ball into Allen 20 yards out from goal. The big man took a touch and instantaneously hit a half volley with his left foot that flew into the top corner of the net before the stunned Smith could move.
Allen had another dip at goal three minutes later, but from that point the Ives began to wrestle back control of the game. Saunders was causing a lot of problems down the left with his direct running style and he set up shooting opportunities for Dias and substitute Sam Bond in 72nd and 78th minutes respectively. But both fired well over from good positions.
Bond had another opportunity ten minutes from time as he ran onto a Kwiatowski through ball, but he delayed his shot a little to long giving Hauls chance to knock the ball off his toe. The resulting corner was delivered to the back post by Saunders where Locke again rose highest. This time he made better contact, but I think that even he would admit that lady luck was on his side as his header struck a defender on the head and bounced up over the covering man on the line to put Ives back in front.
If there was a little fortune in that goal the next one which came only 45 seconds later was just a quality finish. Bond chased a ball down towards the Hares right corner flag and won the ball off a dallying defender. Vaz made a run to the near post where he took a touch on Bond’s low cross before hammering a low drive across Curtis into the far corner of the net.
Dias came close to adding a forth three minutes later as he received a pass from Aaron Makeham 30 yards from goal and tried his luck with low drive that Curtis was forced to push away low to his left.
Having seen, or maybe not, two long range howitzers from Allen fly past him Smith was determined to be very much on his guard to prevent it happening again. In the final minute he had his chance as he made a good save to another well struck effort from 25 yards by the Hares talisman after he had been teed up by Pearce.
So even though they conceded their first goal in 270 minutes of football this season Ives managed to maintain their 100% start to the season. But on a night like this the football must take a back seat to life and our parting thought must be to wish Revell a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back on the pitch long before our return trip to the GER Stadium.
St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatowski, Makeham, Short (capt), Locke, Polhos, Vaz (Morris 82), Dias, Mobbs (Bond 70), Foster (Thomas 45), Saunders
Unused subs : Oldale, King
Goals : Dias 27, Locke 81, Vaz 81
Attendance : 41
Report by Nigel Howlett